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The Week That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Nov 1, 2015

Underworld Kingpin Chotta Rajan Captured

Indian crime investigators scored a major breakthrough this week with the arrest of Chotta Rajan (Sadashiv Nikalje) in Indonesia. Rajan was travelling from Australia to Bali and was arrested upon landing in Indonesia. It is believed that the Australian police tipped off the Indonesian authorities about Rajan. The arrest came as a shot in the arm for the government, which has been trying to track both Rajan and his arch enemy Dawood Ibrahim for many years. Rajan faces multiple cases of murder and possession of arms against him and has been one of the leading underworld figures for the last two decades. The Govt has already put into place actions to extradite him from Indonesia and hopes to use him to further their attempts to reach the elusive Dawood Ibrahim.

Bihar Polls

The Bihar polls continue to roll on and appear to be providing as much drama and news as a general election. With the stakes at an all time high, direct attacks between leaders are flowing back and forth. On the eve of the 3rd phase of polling, CM Nitish Kumar dared PM Narendra Modi to a debate on the Gujarat model while BJP President Amit Shah created a flutter by declaring that a defeat for BJP will lead to celebrations in Pakistan. Not one to hold himself back, PM Modi also took to the offensive and issued a sharp attack on Lalu Yadav's record as CM.

Nepal-China reach Oil Supply Agreement

On the foreign policy front, India was in for a surprise. The MEA reacted in a guarded manner to the news of Nepal reaching an agreement with China for the supply of oil. Nepal has traditionally sourced 70% of its fuel needs from India and this agreement comes at a time when border areas are under a blockade by sections of Nepal's population that are unhappy over provisions of its new constitutions. The Indian government has taken a tough line so far and requested Nepal to address these concerns. It remains to be seen whether Nepal's pivot towards China is for temporary relief or has larger strategic implications for India.

Inda-Africa Summit

Speaking at the Africa summit, PM Narendra Modi laid out his government's intent to invest more in Africa ranging from a $10bn soft loans to support in the farm sector. Modi's speech was taken note of in Beijing as well where the Chinese government stated that it welcomed India's involvement in Africa and did not see the content as a place of Sino-Indian rivalry.

Difficult Deficit

Like most of his predecessors, Arun Jaitley is also all set to face an uphill task to meet his budget's Fiscal Deficit targets for the year. At the halfway stage of the financial year, India's fiscal deficit has already reached 68% of the full year target. While the falling oil prices have eased some of the budgetary strain, Mr.Jaitley's plan of raising revenues from asset sell offs have not materialized so far to the extent that the government hoped.

Opinions you must read:

  • In recent weeks PM Narendra Modi has been at the center of debates around beef politics and the return of literary awards. Firstpost editor and long time supporter of Modi, R.Jagannathan, makes a lucid case here for the PM to adopt some tweaks to his approach.
  • Within the right wing universe, Swapan Dasgupta makes a detailed case for a complaint long held by the BJP and its supporters - that the mainstream media leans left and is biased towards them.